Sunday, June 20, 2010

Los Guaranies Stroll To Historic Win

Paraguay had never won a previous second group match in all their World Cup appearances but Gerrardo Martino's side are a different proposition this time round. The team qualified for South Africa, beating Argentina, Chile, Brazil in the process, to finish third with 33 points. It's a strong team with Dortmund duo, Valdez and Barrios, Sunderland-bound Cristian Riveros and Roque Santa Cruz.

Slovakia offered little in terms of attacking threat and it was all up to Los Guaranies to claim victory over the Repre side. Marek Hamsik was disappointing as captain of Slovakia. He was expected to lead the Repre as their most internationally known player but at 22, Hamsik seemed overawed by the occassion. We will have to wait four more years to watch a more mature and confident Hamsik as Slovakia's leader.

Lucas Barrios stood out as the outstanding player and his bright performances justified why Manchester City and AC Milan are rumoured to be chasing his signature. La Pantera created most of the best attacking moments for Paraguay in the first half. It was his slide rule pass that Enrique Vera scored the all-important Los Guaranies first goal. Barrios faded in the second half and was replaced but by then Slovakia had already accepted defeat.
It was an impressive victory and Gerardo Martino clearly has a talented squad. The team is looking focused, as evident from their customary huddle at the centre of the pitch before a match. Martino said before,
"Anyone who coaches a national team does so for one of two reasons: to stay in the job or go down in history. I've chosen the second option."
El Tata has coached Paraguay to their first second group match win and that's a historic moment. Watch out for more of  La Albirroja in this World Cup. Latin American teams are flourishing in South Africa 2010!

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